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Displaying items by tag: Irish cruise calls

#CRUISELINERS – The Quest (1992/1,180grt) an ice-strengthened expedition cruiseship, will have the distinction of being the first cruise caller to Dun Laoghaire Harbour in many years. The cruise call next week (24th April) will mark a new era in attracting the cruise sector as part of the harbour's masterplan launched last year, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Quest will have a German clientele of around 50 passengers, though other larger capacity vessels are scheduled for the summer in this first phase of cruise callers. The cruise sector season is seen to be a significant economic boost to the local economy considering the reduced ferry side of the harbour business in recent years.

Passengers on the Noble Caledonia operated vessel are to take a 9-night 'Garden' Cruise with prices starting from £3,295. She is to set sail from Oban Scotland, then to Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and Channel Islands.

On her Dun Laoghaire call passengers will head for Powerscourt and nearby Mount Usher gardens in Co. Wicklow. On the second Irish port of call to Waterford as previously reported, they will visit the privately owned Mount Congreve Gardens on the banks of the River Suir.

Notably scheduled in for next year's season is the 'flagship' of the Cunard Line fleet, the 2,620 passenger liner Queen Mary 2, all of 151,400 gross tonnes. She is to make an anchorage call in May 2013, according to Captain Frank Allan, Dun Laoghaire Harbourmaster.

As part of the programme to attract and develop Dun Laoghaire as a cruise call port of call, a new tender docking facility was recently completed. The facility is designed to cater for large cruiseships using the harbour as it will cater for easier access by boats tendering passengers to vessels such as Queen Mary 2 during anchorage calls out in Dublin Bay.

The new tender facility will also benefit the public as the facility can be used for training purposes and for the operation of boat tours around Dublin Bay and trips out to Dalkey Island.

Published in Cruise Liners
12th April 2012

From Falmouth to the Fjords

#CRUISE LINERS – Dublin Port's first cruise caller for this season will be Arion which today sets sail from Falmouth on an eleven night / twelve day cruise to Scotland and Norwegian fjords. The 5,888 gross tonnes cruiseship built in 1965 is to berth in the capital at Ocean Pier, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The veteran vessel which has sleek traditional lines can carry over 300 passengers and she is operated by Classic International Cruises. Her visit will be one of around 90 cruise calls scheduled to Dublin Port during this year's season which stretches to early October. The majority of these calls will be in the summer and where several ships will be making repeat port of calls.

With so many callers to Dublin Port, this brings a greater variety of vessels as evident between the Arion and Princess Cruises considerably larger Grand Princess which is due next week. The giant vessel weighs over 109,000 gross tonnes and has a capacity for over 4,000 passenger and crew.

The Portuguese flagged Arion is also set to open the season to Galway, as previously reported she is to make an anchorage call off the mid-west harbour next month.

Meanwhile following all the recent focus centred in Cobh, Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo is expected to arrive this afternoon by berthing at the town's dedicated cruiseship quayside.

Published in Cruise Liners
Jewel of the Seas, one of four 90,000 tonnes Radiance Class cruise ships operated by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) departed Dublin Port this evening bound for Cork Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.
During the cruisecall of the near 300 metre-long vessel, she took on bunkers from the 70m short-sea coastal tanker Keewhit (2,332dwt) which arrived from Liverpool this morning. The procedure to transfer fuel is relatively commonplace particularly with larger cruiseships calling the capital. To see photo of Keewhit transferring fuel in a similar operation which took place when the Grand Princess visited Dublin earlier this year, click HERE.

The 2,500 passenger Jewel of the Seas has a nine-deck centrum which has glass lifts which allows light to flow throughout the spacious and airy ship. Activities range from golf to climbing, a spa and sumptuous restaurants.

When the 2004 built cruiseship docks at the dedicated cruise berth at Cobh in the early hours of tomorrow she will also be sharing the deepwater berth with the 2001 built Silver Whisper. The ultra-luxury vessel accommodates only 388 passengers and is operated by SilverSeas Cruises. To read more about the vessel click HERE.

Both vessels are scheduled to depart Cobh around teatime tomorrow and this will be followed by preparations of the picturesque town which is to welcome the maiden call to Cobh of Queen Elizabeth on Saturday. To read more about the newest vessel of the Cunard Line fleet click HERE. The 2010 built vessel will firstly make an inaugural call to Dublin on Friday prior to the Cobh call which coincides with Cork Harbour Open Day, for event details visit www.corkharbour.ie

Published in Cruise Liners
Cruiseship passengers on board the Spirit of Adventure which anchored in Galway Bay today will have an opportunity of visiting the famous race course venue at Ballybrit, writes Jehan Ashmore.
At just under 10,000 tonnes Spirit of Adventure built in 1980 with a capacity for 352 passengers is the largest cruise-caller this season to make a call to the mid-west port. She had sailed overnight from Foynes and is due to depart later today bound for Kirkwall, Orkney Islands.

The vessel first visited Galway in 2009 but this call will be her last year operating under the Spirit of Adventure cruise banner. The company are to replace the vessel  next season with the Saga Pearl II which will be transferred from the parent company Saga Cruises and renamed Quest for Adventure.

Prior to the Spirit of Adventurer's call, the 226 passenger Le Diamant arrived from St. Malo last Friday. She became the first vessel to make a call to the 'City of the Tribes' on behalf of her French operators, Cie de Ponant. Her passengers were taken on tours of the city, Connemara and the Aillwee Caves in neighbouring Co. Clare. The vessel is due to return early next month.

With three cruise-calls this year the port is set to increase this figure to 7 in 2012 arising from the ports campaign over the last two years. Paul Carey, Chairman of the Harbour Company, said "We are beginning to see the fruits of this campaign and look forward to growing Galway's association with the return of the majestic passenger liners to Galway".

"The passenger liner The World has been confirmed for a two-day visit in August 2013 which is a great endorsement of Galway as a cruise destination".

The call by the world's first ocean-going luxury resort vessel will also be another first for Galway. Operators of the 43,524gt vessel, Residences at Sea have made previous Irish ports of call to include Dublin, for more on her to the capital last August click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
Visitors to Ireland's newest coastal tourist attraction at Loop Head Lighthouse will not only have stunning sea views but also as a place to observe seasonal cruise ships calling to Foynes, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Within the next seven days, three cruise callers are due to enter the mouth of the Shannon Estuary. The first to arrive is the French-flagged Le Diamant which docks tomorrow in the Co. Limerick port. The 8,200 tonnes vessel operated by Ponant Cruises is tonight sailing from St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly.

Her arrival will be followed by P&O Cruises latest addition Adonia on Saturday. With 710 berths the 30,000 tonnes vessel is the smallest of the seven-strong fleet which can accommodate between 1,800 and up to 3,100 passengers as in the case of the Azura. The 115,000 tonnes vessel departed Dublin Port this evening. Her first call to the port was last year (click HERE) and she is the largest cruise ship to call to the capital.

On Tuesday of next week the 9,000 tonnes Spirit of Adventure (cruises) marks the third cruise caller to Foynes. The port is along with five other terminals located throughout the country's largest estuary are operated by the Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC).

Incidentally Spirit of Adventure and Azura where two of another trio of cruise ships that visited the Port of Cork on Monday, with Holland America Line's 59,000 tonnes Rotterdam forming the third vessel. This was the first occasion that Cork has handled this number of cruise ships on a single day, bringing 7,000 passengers which set a new record for the port.

Published in Cruise Liners

Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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